Melbourne-born businessman and philanthropist Peter Ivany made part of his fortune as Chief Executive of Australia’s second largest movie exhibitor, Hoyts Cinemas.

During his time at Hoyts Cinemas, which he ran between 1988 and 1999, Mr Ivany grew the business to over 2,000 theatres operating in 12 countries. Further business successes include home video rental business Video Ezy, and retailer Harris Scarfe, and he is currently the executive chairman of his own diversified investment company, Ivany Investment Group (IIG), as well as being equally, if not more, visible for his ongoing philanthropic activities and community involvement. Mr Ivany spoke with us recently to tell the story of how he made his wealth, shared advice on business for entrepreneurs, and explained his value system of giving back to the community. 

Hoyts Cinemas

“In 1981, Twentieth Century Fox had been just taken over by Marvin Davis,” Mr Ivany says, “an oil man from Texas. His group were more interested in the real estate than the theatre business, so they put the cinemas business, Hoyts, up for sale. My father-in-law, Leon Fink was one of a number of partners that owned two theatres in Melbourne and they ended up outbidding all the others for the Hoyts’ business.”

Mr. Fink and his partners invited Mr Ivany to be part of the newly extended business and in 1983 he, his father-in-law and two brothers-in-law bought out the other existing partners and began to run Hoyts Cinemas together. “We also ran a range of other businesses at that time.”

These other businesses included two public companies in radio and other media, advertising, film and TV production, including the largest radio network in the country at the time, Triple M.

When Peter was appointed CEO of Hoyts, in 1988, a particularly hard economic time in Australia following the 1987 property crash, there was much work to be done to try to turn around the business. This was eventually achieved with a lot of support, hard work, determination, and a lot of sleepless nights.

“In 1993 my father-in-law, Leon, passed away, and I was able to buy out my other partners with the help of Lend Lease and Hellman and Friedman, a private equity firm out of San Francisco.  

“We bought Hoyts out in 1993, started to expand internationally and in 1996 we went public, having grown the chain from 40 to over 2,000 theatres around the world. We were public for two or three years before we decided to sell the business to Kerry Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) in 1999.”

“At Hoyts, we rebuilt and reshaped not only the Australian cinema landscape but the cinema landscape internationally,” he says. “We were the first group to build multiplexes in Australia the late 80s and by expanding on this format, we saw the level of attendance increase virtually four-fold from the time I started in the business to the time I finished. It was very exciting.”

Mr. Ivany considers this period of his career, which he calls ‘phase one’, to have ended with the sale of Hoyts in 1999 to CPH. After the sale of Hoyts, he began to investigate and invest in businesses in different areas. These investments culminated with Mr. Ivany establishing the Ivany Investment Group which also expands on his philanthropic interests and activities.

Community focus

A driving force for Mr Ivany in all his businesses is the idea that through business acumen and generating profits, his companies could make positive changes for the whole, creating social benefits as well as economic ones.

Rather than spending more of his life building another company, as he did with Hoyts, travelling and filling his time with work, Peter wanted to give something back to society at large, and he wanted to do it in Australia.

“After the sale of Hoyts, I decided to spend half my life in philanthropy. It was an easy decision for me to make because I wanted to make a contribution, and hopefully a difference, to the community that had given me so much. The interests that I had, I just continued with them. I’ve stayed in film through AFTRS (Australian Film, Television and Radio School), NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art), the Jewish Film Festival and the Sydney Film Festival. I delved more into the sporting community with the Sydney Swans’ organisation and the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust. I was involved in art through the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art and, of course, the Jewish community with the Jewish Communal Appeal. Also, I serve as an Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney where I lecture and teach. So those are the few areas I’ve developed more fully in philanthropy.”

Having had the experience of living on a kibbutz at age nineteen, Mr Ivany developed a social conscience early on in life, and it has stayed with him to this day. His experiences with Hoyts, both good and bad, helped him meet the challenges faced in his philanthropic endeavours, ultimately helping them to succeed.

Peter Ivany - The Australian Business Executive
I’m not going to say that there weren’t some dark nights, nights where it was hard to see the future

“I spend approximately 50% of my time in philanthropy and 50% in business. During the tough times of 2008, and even these [COVID-19] times, you end up spending more time in business, when it needs it, but over time it sort of averages out so that there is a balance.”

Backed by an excellent team at IIG, Mr Ivany can utilise his entrepreneurial skills on the business side to make sure it all runs smoothly and to ensure that they provide safe cash flow investments that in turn allows him to continue with his philanthropic endeavours and find that balance that he enjoys. For him, it’s never been about ‘who’s got the highest net worth.”

Mr Ivany still enjoys the business side of his life. IIG is diversified with its investments in property funding, technology, stocks and bonds and private equity and while some investments are passive, some are active. It is the active ones that provides him an opportunity to use his experiences and contribute mostly to the visions of others. He has spent considerable time over the last few years working on and developing the businesses of the Sydney Zoo, Allied Finance and IMAX, currently three of his larger projects.   

“In the past I’ve been involved in quite a few ‘active’ projects that not only build businesses but also increases shareholder value such as Video Ezy and Tourism Asset Holdings Limited, “TAHL,” managed by Accor Hotels, which was Australia’s largest hotel operators.”

The diversification between passive ventures or investments allows him to be able to allocate more time to his philanthropic and community-based work.

“The philanthropy is not just a time commitment,” Mr Ivany says, “it’s also strategic. You’re helping people build their organisations and helping them reach their visions for the community. The not-for-profit sector is growing rapidly, probably because more and more people are finding that, not only is it an important way to spend their time, it is also vastly fulfilling to be involved with organisations that benefit social welfare.”

Doing business without fear

When Mr Ivany found himself in the position to buy out his partners at Hoyts, he had no real experience of what he was going to be up against and therefore he had no fear. This is something he admits was key to his success.

“For approximately three years, between 1987-1990, we were facing huge losses, so I had to ask the question, do I go and do something else or do I try to find a way to make it work?  At the core of it, I believe I am someone who likes to find solutions and who isn’t afraid of the hard work it takes to make things happen and even in this situation, I truly believed that I could find a solution. When I put CEO on my business card it enabled me to make the often tough, necessary decisions and slowly we made our way back from the negative and started turning it into something positive.”

Mr Ivany admits that the most important skill in that situation is to back yourself and have a vision. You can’t look at it in terms of risk analysis, because the risks are too big. Mr Ivany feels the main traits of entrepreneurship are having confidence, backing yourself and working around the clock.

“We were able to find hope when there was none,” he explains. “We restructured the whole business by reducing our bank debt, we sold off surplus assets and significantly improved our profitability in our core business.”

Making a business successful is all about finding the small positives, which Mr Ivany did as CEO of Hoyts, and then timing it right to find the solutions. In the late 80’s they could have sold the business cheaply and moved on elsewhere, but they held out because not only did he enjoy the business, he believed in it.

“I’m not going to say that there weren’t some dark nights, nights where it was hard to see the future. There were times when you get very little sleep, and there was no balance in your life. We made it with the most finite of margins.”

At age 35, Mr. Ivany found that people were beginning to believe in him on the back of this incredible turnaround. This kind of success can provide an enormous amount of confidence for somebody in a leadership position – and confidence is key.

“Any leader has to have people that follow them and for people to follow a leader they have to believe in the person that makes the decisions. To be that leader, you need to believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself others will as well, because people want answers, they want solutions and they want a pathway in life. Any leader has to give people paths.”

“What I have found is that once somebody has become used to running a business themselves, and has achieved a certain level of autonomy, their skills become far more general than specific, and in effect they make themselves virtually unemployable in any other format.”

“If you want to continue to work, then in effect you have to continue to be an entrepreneur, because really there is no other solution. It’s difficult when you have run your own business, made the decisions, and reached a certain age to then pivot into an institution with multi-layered, bureaucratic systems.  I’m not saying that it can’t be done, just that it is difficult to do.”

Entrepreneurs are often born by realising that they are leaders rather than followers. Once they have found a way to live this lifestyle, it’s all about finding the right people who share the vision and lead them effectively.

“At the end of the day, I work with a small team. I’m still involved in every aspect of all the businesses, but it works, because you don’t have those layers of bureaucracy to slow you down and you don’t have to ask for permission. With everyone contributing, you can get ahead of your competition and you take out all the obstacles to success.”

“Even with big businesses and governments that are full of executives, politicians, and policy makers the final decisions are made by one or two people, it’s just the way the structures work. The key to success is to have one clear direction that everyone is pulling towards.”

“That’s sort of how it worked for me,” Mr Ivany concludes, “and then basically I’ve continued that way of doing things across a number of different organisations, and it’s been effective and it’s been helpful, hopefully. What I’m most proud of, in a sense, is that every organisation I’ve been involved with are still thriving today.”

Peter Ivany has had an entrepreneurial career that has spanned more than 40 years.  During this time, he has worked through the highs and lows that comes with the territory of hard work, determination, and strong business practices. He counts himself fortunate to be able to take this opportunity to use part of his wealth to give back to the Australian community. For more information on Mr Ivany’s investment firm, visit

The First Animals Have Arrived at Sydney Zoo, the City’s First Major Zoo to Open in 100 Years

Lions, orangutans, baboons, cheetahs and hyenas now call the Western Sydney Africa precinct home.

The dulcet tones of lions roaring and chimps screeching will become the new norm in Western Sydney. The first animals have moved into the new Sydney Zoo in Blacktown – the first major zoo to be built in the city for more than 100 years.

The zoo’s African precinct, which will immerse visitors in a safari-like experience, has welcomed more than 40 beasts from some of the world’s most respected facilities to give them time to settle into their new environment before the zoo opens late this year.

(Image from Sydney Zoo)

Lions Bakari, Sheru, Karoo and Virunga have been brought over from the Taronga Conservation Society, and hyenas Enzi, Etana and Endesha have travelled from Singapore Zoo to Blacktown. Other newbies include orangutans Santan, Maimunah and Dewi, who have come from Melbourne Zoo, as well as two cheetahs, three zebras, 11 chimps and 13 baboons.

When it opens, Sydney Zoo will have more than 2000 native and exotic animals roaming its grounds. Hidden barriers, boardwalks and water features will help create an immersive, safari-like experience for visitors. Established by Sydney Aquarium founder John Burgess and his son Jake, the zoo will also support local and international conservation efforts. It will house a number of endangered species from around the globe, and undertake on-site breeding programs to increase their numbers.

The zoo is being built with sustainable materials and will use a solar power network, and recycle storm-water run-off to fill moats and water gardens. It will also compost all animal and food waste and use biodegradable cornstarch packaging. Plus, the zoo has worked with the local Darug people to offer a natural heritage program led by Aboriginal guides.

Sydney Zoo’s new arrivals come almost 18 months after the facility settled a dispute with Taronga Zoo over its name. Taronga attempted to stop Sydney Zoo from registering its name as a trademark, arguing it would mislead people into thinking the zoo was in Sydney’s CBD, not 33 kilometres west of it. It was also concerned visitors and locals would confuse Sydney Zoo with its own facility, which has been Sydney’s only major zoo for more than 100 years. In May last year, though, the two parties settled their differences out of court.

Sydney Zoo is slated to open late this year.
Article Reference

$1 million gift for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art

Original article posted on

In an innovative approach to philanthropy, the MCA has received a promised bequest that will be invested in sustaining future programming.
In an innovative approach to philanthropy, the MCA has received a promised bequest that will be invested in sustaining future programming.
Philanthropists Sharon and Peter Ivany at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
Photo credit: Daniel Boud

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) has announced an extraordinary million dollar pledge by philanthropists Peter Ivany AM and Sharon Ivany – one that takes a particularly innovative approach to the future sustainability of the museum.

The pair’s promised bequest of $1 million will be invested by Peter Ivany to ensure that accruals earned on the gift will be partly used to support the MCA Access Programs. The remainder will be reinvested, thereby increasing the value of the original bequest.

MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: ‘This is a highly innovative approach to giving: I love the idea that Peter is working for us! The savvier his investments are, the more support we get for our programs.’

With a particular focus on Western Sydney, the Ivany’s Major Gift donation will support the MCA Momentum program, which enables disadvantaged young people from NSW in Years 9-11 to participate in an intensive art workshop at the MCA.

Delivered in partnership with the Smith Family’s ‘Learning for Life program’, participants will explore contemporary art practice and exhibitions with MCA Artist Educators.

Macgregor said of Ivany’s innovative approach: ‘This way we concentrate on delivering high quality experiences for young people, while Peter uses his investment skills. He expects the fund to grow over time, enabling the bequest to ultimately be significantly higher than the amount originally invested.’

Sandy Ma, Sharon Ivany, Ruisi Chen, Peter Ivany, Ela Curic, MCA Australia.
Photo credit: Daniel Boud.

The couple are long-standing donors to the Museum. This major pledge follows a significant donation made to the MCA’s capital campaign in 2011, and ongoing support through the MCA Ambassador program since 2003.

Additionally, Peter Ivany was previously an MCA Board Member and Sharon Ivany, a member of the MCA Bella Committee.

The pair said of their bequest: ‘We hope our pledge will encourage more philanthropic minds across the nation to follow in our footsteps, and help the MCA to continue to connect a broad and diverse public with the work of living artists and to develop programs that foster the creativity that is so essential to society.

‘We believe, like the MCA, that access to art can – and does – change lives, and the MCA has demonstrated its leadership in this field.’

Peter Ivany was the CEO behind the success of Hoyts Cinemas, at the time when the company grew from a small chain in Australia to a global business with over 2,000 theatres operating in 12 countries. After the sale of Hoyts in 1999, he built his own investment business, Ivany Investment Group (IIG) with a range of diversified investments from property, private equity, bonds, start-ups, and company turnarounds, both in Australia and overseas.

Current investments include IMAX, Sydney Zoo and Allied Credit. Previously Peter was Chairman of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and Chairman of the Jewish International Film Foundation of Australia. He has also contributed to the Boards of the MCA, the President’s Council of the Art Gallery NSW, and was a founding member of Events NSW, now Destination NSW. 

Ivany is also an Adjunct Professor for the Faculty of Business at the University of Technology Sydney.

In 2007, he was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for service to the community, business and the arts.


Philanthropy secures the future of rural mental health program

Through the Ivany Foundation, philanthropist Peter Ivany AM and his family have committed to fund Mission Australia’s Connections program in Broken Hill for three years, after government backing for the pilot program ran out in June last year.

The former Hoyts CEO is no stranger to success, growing the Australian theatre business to a global brand with over 2,200 theatres operating in 12 countries. At just 43, Peter sold the company while it was thriving, instead opting to divide his time equally between business and helping those in need.

For Peter, giving is something he feels incredibly passionate about and it’s a value his whole family shares.

“You can only eat three meals, wear one suit and live in one house,” he says. “You get to a point where you are just accumulating wealth and that’s never been an objective of mine. It’s always been just a tool I can do things with – but every person is driven by different things.”

Peter first contributed to Mission Australia in 2013, and was drawn to the organisation because of its work and rich history. “It’s an incredible institution that’s stood the test of time,” he says.

After making regular donations, he was approached by Mission Australia CEO, James Toomey in 2019 about backing a service in danger of closing due to a lack of government funding.

Mission Australia’s Connections Program in Broken Hill, NSW links socially isolated people to find friendship and confidence in the community. Run by peer-support workers who have experienced these issues first-hand, the program seeks to support those suffering from mental illness, anxiety, loneliness and isolation, therefore decreasing emergency room admissions and hospital presentations after hours.

In the first six months of being open, visits to the local Emergency Department for mental health support were reduced by 80 per cent. The community also saw a 65 per cent reduction in admissions to the hospital for mental health issues. Overall, this reduced local health district service costs by almost $761,000.

Initially funded as a pilot program by NSW Health, funding was due to expire on 30 June 2019. But Peter’s generous gifts over the next three years mean that the service can continue to positively impact those in the community. Knowing that he has the power to change lives is something Peter finds both humbling and motivating.

“I don’t know what would have happened to it if I wouldn’t have helped fund it, but it’s pretty inspiring when you look at what’s happened in that community,” he says.

Peter will soon visit the Connections program first-hand and meet some of the participants.

“I do like to get that level of involvement with projects, to see actual people and how their lives have improved, what could have happened and what did happen. I’ve had the chance to see the looks on their faces and that’s inspiring enough. I love that,” he tells.

Peter also believes you never get poor by giving, so is always encouraging people – especially those with capacity to give more – to pay it forward and help those in need.

“What you help them with in life will be there forever for them. When you can touch anyone’s life like that, it’s very rewarding,” he says. “You’ve got to find a way to open the door to give everyone a bit of a platform in life, because you’ve got to launch from somewhere.”

Mission Australia Article Reference

Sydney Zoo announces the establishment of the Sydney Zoo Foundation, along with its first initiative to support Science for Wildlife

Sydney Zoo is proud to announce the creation of the Sydney Zoo Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established to lead the conservation and sustainability objectives of the Zoo.

The first initiative of the Sydney Zoo Foundation will be to provide financial support and resources to Science for Wildlife’s Blue Mountains Koala Project. The Sydney Zoo Foundation, in partnership with the Ivany Foundation and the Ottomin Foundation, is making an initial donation of $100,000 with funds to be directed towards rehabilitation and recovery efforts in the Blue Mountains, following the recent bushfires.

Science for Wildlife began studying the Blue Mountains koala population in 2014 following the 2013 bushfires. In 2014 koalas were spotted in this region for the first time in decades. With very little known about the Blue Mountains koala population, Science for Wildlife began studying their ecology to understand which habitats the koalas use and identify the threats they face. The research team discovered that koalas from this region are the most genetically diverse in Australia, making them incredibly important to the survival of the species. With the bushfires impacting around 75% of koala habitats in the Blue Mountains region, Science for Wildlife is now focusing its resources on the rehabilitation and recovery of the species.

Executive Director, Science for Wildlife, Dr Kellie Leigh (PhD) says, “Without these funds, many of the animals located in the World Heritage Blue Mountains region would remain vulnerable. These funds will make an immediate and meaningful impact, helping us to keep animals alive that have survived the fires. We need to achieve scale with the water stations, quickly, and this support makes that possible”

“These funds will be used to construct and deploy 60 large water towers, as well as supporting our camera trap project which aims to check where koalas and other species are using the water stations, so that we can target efforts to help koala populations recover over time,” she continued.

The Sydney Zoo Foundation Director Jake Burgess says “With one of the country’s most genetically diverse koala populations it is extremely important to conserve koalas in this local region and do all that we can to make a difference. To be partnered with an organisation that is making a significant contribution to our local community is an exciting first initiative for the Sydney Zoo Foundation”

The Sydney Zoo Foundation urges the public to support the partnership with Science for Wildlife by helping them reach their donation target of $50,000, which will help provide more water stations and food drops in key areas for threatened species. Donations can be made at


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The passions of philanthropist Peter Ivany

The 2019 SFF brings together two of Peter Ivany’s passions – film and the Sydney Swans – and comes on the heels of a large gift to help secure the future of the festival.

For Peter Ivany, the $200,000 he and his wife Sharon gifted to the Sydney Film Festival is the continuation of a life-long love of movies. The young man, who made a film of his own while on a kibbutz, went on to become the CEO and major shareholder of Hoyts in the mid-80s, overseeing its growth from a small Australian player to a global business with 2,000 theatres in 12 countries. When Ivany exited Hoyts in 1999, the serial entrepreneur set up his own investment company and added philanthropist to his CV. “After I sold Hoyts, I made a vow to myself – I was only 43 – I said half of my time was going to be in philanthropy and community-based things and the other half would be in business. You’ve got to keep the business going or the philanthropy stops pretty quickly,’ he laughs. “And I’ve kept to that. Overall it’s been 50/50.” The son of refugees, philanthropy is stitched into the fabric of the life Ivany shares with his wife and three children. “Broadly we think we should give back, that’s just what we think. There’s always an element of luck in life and the world has been good to us, Australia has been good to us so. It’s not even duty-bound, it just feels right to do at every level. We’ve had a significant transfer of wealth and creation of wealth in the last 20 or 30 years, and that’s got to recycle itself back into the community otherwise what are we doing it for?” Ivany believes in contributing through time and commitment, not just giving, and his list of community positions past and present is long. Alongside the Sydney Film Festival and Sydney Swans, right now much of his time is dominated by roles at the Jewish Communal Appeal, Sports Connect and NIDA, but he’s had long associations with other institutions such as the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), the Museum of Contemporary Art (last year he announced a gift of $1 million to the MCA), and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to name a few.
Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small, Peter Ivany, Festival Director Nashen Moodley.
His association with the Sydney Film Festival stretches back more than 15 years and in 2006 Ivany became Chairman of SFF’s Advisory Committee. “We’ve been there 15 years plus and we’ve watched it go through its various incarnations but we really like where it’s at the moment and we love the work it’s doing. The Sydney Film Festival has become accessible, successful and fulfills many roles in society. They just do a great job,” says Ivany. “So it has the history, it’s well run, sustainable and more and more people are coming. At the same time the film business is showing less and less diversity as it is so dominated by the mega-players. A lot of filmmakers have nowhere to showcase their wares. If you don’t see the films there, you may never see them anywhere. It is an important part of Sydney’s cultural fabric and important for us to support.” Of course this is particularly true of Australian film and Ivany loves that the SFF provides a platform to display the talents of all the students who have gone through the doors of the other cultural institutions he supports, such as NIDA and AFTRS. “To enable people to pursue all their talents and passions is one measure of a society that is working. It’s good for the person doing the work, the people receiving it, the community around it. It’s creative, it’s positive, it’s not a destructive part of our community, it can hold the community together. Ultimately it gives people many, many positive experiences.” Those experiences include the sharing and transfer of knowledge; the simple, pure pleasure of being entertained; and a sense of community. “You get people from all walks of life who tap into their knowledge and come together to share their experiences,” he says of filmmaking. “In the end you create a more vibrant society, a prouder society that is a reflection of what we’ve achieved.”
AFL Grand Final 2012 at the MCG Sydney captain Adam Goodes at the end of the game.
29th September 2012, The Age Sport, Picture by Wayne Taylor

This year SFF brings together two of Ivany’s great passions – film and football – with the screening of The Final Quarter.

Made by fellow philanthropist, Ian Darling, the film is mirror on events surrounding the racial vilification of champion Sydney Swans player, Indigenous leader and Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, during the final three years of his career.

“I can see what can happen if we move away from zero tolerance on these issues and accept that type of type of behaviour and what it can do to society. The film gives us the opportunity to tell the story to people who may not have seen it the first time. It’s a brilliant documentary. It’s not opinion, it’s all archival, factual material. It will give people exposure to archival footage of what was actually said, not other people’s interpretation of it. People will learn from it, and ultimately it will create a better society.

While the booing grew deafening, Goodes maintained his dignity even as his mental health suffered. And the Sydney Swans stood by their player.

“I’m pretty proud of where the Swans were on this,” says Ivany who has been Chairman of the Sydney Swans Foundation since 2005.

“We did the right thing by the community, we did the right thing by our supporters, we did the right thing by Adam. I think today that film will have more resonance because we’ve advanced as a community and I think the community is ready to understand what happened.”

Ivany has other passions – the Jewish community, education and health – but his support for the arts is steadfast.

“You don’t have a successful economy just to build big buildings,” he says. “How culture grows and develops is not only a reflection of the community, it is a social dividend.”


The Sydney Film Festival runs until June 16.

For screenings of The Final Quarter, go here.

Please call 1300 733 733 or visit for more information.

This is something that I want to fulfil

COMMUNAL stalwart Peter Ivany will donate at least $2 million to JCA to help secure the future of the Sydney Jewish community.

The funding, which Ivany is giving in addition to his current donations, will be invested immediately, with the intention for it to grow substantially and for capital to be periodically released over time.

A long-term JCA supporter and one of its eight honorary life governors, Ivany said he was motivated to pledge the significant gift for two main reasons.

“I want to do my best to ensure that JCA continues. As the community gets bigger, as there are more institutions, JCA will need to be better staffed, better resourced,” he said.

“As its own organisational structure expands, it will continually have a need to set up new projects that come along and it always needs people to look after not just the fundraising role, but the planning role as well.”

The second motivation, he said, was his desire to allow his children to follow their own passions and donate to their own causes once he passes on “to the great footy field in the sky”.

“This is something that I want to fulfil – which has been a really important part of my life – past my death,” Ivany explained.

“I really want them to follow what they want to do, not what we necessarily did.”

He added, “In the end, nobody really cares how much money you make – what they care about is what you’ve done for others and if you imbue that value system in your own children, they will follow it.”

Ivany noted that his decision had been made in consultation with wife Sharon and his family.

He said he felt “very safe” with JCA underpinning the community’s institutions.

“JCA is the overall bulwark that makes the community survive and prosper over a long time as the community changes its own priorities,” Ivany said.

“Melbourne has had a number of institutions that have gone by the wayside, whereas Sydney, when the institutions have had various issues, as long as they maintained their relevance, they’ve been enabled to continue and to be supported.”

He continued, “I believe in the structure of JCA.

“As a philanthropist, you can’t rule from the grave, so there is a point where you can take the pressure away from your children, your remaining family and trustees and give it to the organisation and just have a belief that they’ll figure it out … have faith in the people of JCA and give them the freedom to distribute your contribution.”

Ivany encouraged others – regardless of wealth – to follow his philanthropic example.

“Everyone should give something – whatever their passion is – to their community, to whatever they feel would really leave their legacy in the world,” he said.

“Within three generations, wealth just dissipates for a whole range of reasons … at least by giving you’ve had some impact where some of your life’s work has gone.”

JCA president Stephen Chipkin praised Ivany, saying he had “enriched our community over many years”.

“His leadership, by example, in JCA’s long-term capital strategy is no exception. This extremely generous gift from Peter, Sharon and their family supports our focus on the sustainability of our community through major capital gifts, endowments, and the recent launch of our two per cent Bequest Program,” he said.

“Taken together, these donations, no matter how small, will ensure a vibrant and secure Jewish community for future generations.”

With hopefully many decades of service to the community still ahead of him, Ivany said that in the end, he hoped his legacy would be the difference he had made.

“I hope I’ve lead and not just spoken – that I’ve walked the walk – and I hope that some people would borrow some of what I’ve done and use it for the betterment of their lives,” he said.

“In terms of legacy, I think you can actually look at that question in the reverse – the biggest beneficiary, apart from the community, has been myself.

“The rewards you get seeing how people grow and develop, how you can help people solve problems to make their lives better. It’s all part of a pool of people all rowing in the same direction to make a better community. You can’t take away that satisfaction and happiness.”

This article written by GARETH NARUNSKY first appeared in The Australian Jewish News on

February 19, 2019

High-Flyer Finds Board Work Elevates Career

IT’S at this stage of Peter Ivany’s “third career” that he says he is doing his best work.

A former long-serving chief executive of Hoyts, Mr Ivany (right and inset, in 1996) put his high-flying corporate career aside around 15 years ago.

“I made the decision to spend 50 per cent of my time on boards and foundations, not for profit work, and the other 50 on my own business,” Mr Ivany said.

“I’ve largely stuck to that and I’ve been lucky enough to do it. If you’ve done well in life, you give back.”

Mr Ivany, of Point Piper, has spent time on the board or as chair of the following institutions: Sydney Swans Foundation, AFTRS, Sydney Film Festival, Jewish Communal Appeal, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Now, at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Kensington, his influence has been tangibly felt.

NIDA has been constructing its $14m multidisciplinary graduate school, which is due to open by the end of the year.

“This project, once it is complete, elevates us to one of the very top drama schools in the world,” he said.

“It’s up there with RADA, Juilliard and Yale. It is an elite school.

“This is a place where, much like the AIS, with training people can reach the top of their passion.”

While Mr Ivany first began to work with foundations in the early 2000s, he noted the level of expertise and enthusiasm for the work had increased exponentially.

“20 years ago it was not the kind of thing people necessarily wanted to be a part of,” he said.

“Today, being on a foundation is a feather in your cap. It’s respected and it rounds you out as a person.

“In the end we all want a better community for our children. All of us making money just for ourselves is only a piece of life.

“Australians are recognising that you have to give back, it’s the right thing to do.”

Brand New Sydney Zoo Commences Construction

Work has officially commenced on the construction of the new $45 million Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney Parklands today with a ground breaking ceremony at Bungarribee Park.

The world-class 16.5-hectare attraction plans to open in early 2019 following 13 months of construction and will feature over 30 exotic exhibits featuring animals such as lions, tigers, bull sharks, cheetahs, and gorillas as well as an extensive range of native Australian animals.

Sydney Zoo Managing Director Jake Burgess says the Zoo is the first of its kind in Australia, with a strong focus on animal welfare and world leading exhibit design to replicate an immersive, safari-like experience for visitors.

“After researching and visiting 40 different local and international zoos we have incorporated state-of-the-art innovation and best practice animal welfare into our operation. We are confident that Sydney Zoo will be the most advanced of its kind in terms of education and sustainability, and will redefine the visitor experience. Visitors will enjoy elevated walkways and incredible proximity to the animals and our advanced display techniques and ultra-modern technology will improve the visibility of the animals in their habitats.”

“We plan to become an integral part of the communal breeding programs run under the Australasian Species Management Program, which includes both international and Australian facilities.”

“Sydney Zoo will be a real asset for the local community. We believe that the experiences it will deliver will bring people together and it will become a much loved destination for the people of Western Sydney.”

With the construction program beginning next month, the new Zoo is unique in that it features a wholly integrated Aboriginal and natural heritage exhibition, with Rangers from the local Darug people of Western Sydney – the traditional custodians of the land on which it will be built – employed to facilitate educational workshops with tourists and visitors on their culture and history. This has been developed in partnership with Muru Mittigar, a Darug Aboriginal organisation.

New South Wales Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the Zoo is set to become a core part of Western Sydney’s social and cultural infrastructure.

“Sydney Zoo will generate an expected $45 million per annum contribution to the NSW economy and attract up to one million visitors each year. It will create 160 full-time jobs during construction, and 120 full-time jobs during operation.”

Sydney Zoo will also engage with local educational facilities, partnering with Western Sydney University (WSU) by way of an educational sponsorship which will see students participating in animal rehabilitation as well as technology design.

Commenting on the proposed partnership, Dr. Andy Marks, Vice Chancellor of WSU said: “It’s a game changer in every sense of the word, from engineering applications and device enabled interactions with the Zoo, through to the traditional things like vet science; the Zoo encapsulates a whole range of activities the University does, and we’re really excited about it.”

Sydney Zoo will also be offering jobs training for its employees, as it looks to partner with TAFE in development of a range of Cert III and Cert IV qualifications for its employees.

Built within the 200-hectare Bungarribee Park in Western Sydney Parklands, the Zoo will attract families from Western Sydney as well as international tourists, and will feature:

1. World-class animal exhibits divided into four precincts: African Grasslands, African Highlands, South East Asian Tropical, and Cumberland Plain Woodlands

2. Reptile and Insectarium, Aquarium, Nocturnal House and Education Arena

3. Integrated Aboriginal and natural heritage program

4. Restaurant, kiosks, picnic areas, gardens, wetlands and waterways

Bungarribee Park is a major recreational and tourism hub in Western Sydney Parklands that stretches 27 kilometres from Quakers Hill in the north to Leppington in the south. With 5,280 hectares of green open space the Parklands provides better access to green open space will benefit the health and well-being of the community into the future.


Red Agency

P: 02 9963 7736